As many as 500 protesters gathered outside of the GOP debate at the Fox Theatre on Thursday night, yelling at Republicans as they filed into the event and calling attention to injustices such as the Flint water crisis.
The protests began at 6 p.m., three hours before the debate started, and continued through the night, even as more than 2 inches of snow fell.
Demonstrators were angry about Republicans’ dismissive attitudes about the Flint water crisis, immigration, and racial and economic inequality.
About an hour before the debate started, protesters ignored police demands to stay on the east side of Woodward and pressed against the gate to heckle Republicans while they shuffled into the theater.
Eventually, police managed to get protesters to back up.
The demonstration was peaceful but passionate.
During the debate, presidential candidate Marco Rubio defended Gov. Rick Snyder’s handling of the Flint water crisis, blaming Democrats for making it a “partisan” issue.
Steve Neavling lives and works in Detroit as an investigative journalist. His stories have uncovered corruption, led to arrests and reforms and prompted FBI investigations.